I was hoping that I would be able to say that the day my baby arrived the heavens opened and rain fell heavily on the dry streets of Cape Town. But I can’t. He arrived on a bright, sunny Saturday morning in the middle of a heatwave and a drought. But that’s just how it goes; nothing is ever as you plan.
Saturday February 25, 2017. 10.40am
I was 39 weeks and 1 day pregnant (not that that means much anyway). I had wanted him (even though I thought it was a her) to stay safely in my tummy for another week or two but that was just because I had some work deadlines that were looming and I wanted to get them out the way before he arrived. But of course, it wasn’t really my decision and obviously the universe wanted to teach me a lesson about priorities.
The birth was not as I had planned. I had done enough reading of positive birth stories – on the advice of our antenatal class – to fantasize about a gentle (natural) birth process involving a deeply concerned but caring husband, some interesting yoga positions and my favourite tunes, but the thought of an emergency c-section had never crossed my mind.
It actually turned into quite an unnecessarily traumatic experience and I can’t help but wonder that if I had spent my time researching the not-so-positive birth experiences I might have been more prepared mentally for the bright lights, weird machines and bad hospital food.
By Saturday morning I had already been in hospital for a few days. On the Thursday before, I woke up to what I thought was my water breaking but what actually turned out to be unexplainable bleeding. Needless to say I rudely woke the husband and we rushed to the hospital (as fast as we could through the morning rush hour traffic), where they hooked me up to a machine which looked like it should have been left in the 50s where it belonged.
Happily, though, this clunky machine told me that baby was oblivious to the (still unexplained) bleeding and so they left me lying on the bed, staring at the beautiful sunny day outside. The next morning the bleeding had stopped and so I decided to take a chance and go home for the weekend and enjoy a little bit of sunshine and alone-time with the Beard (and Bacon, our little mini daxie). At midnight, a de ja vu incident made us rush back again to the hospital, where I knew I wasn’t going to leave again on my own.
On Saturday morning my doctor asked if we wanted to wait until Monday morning to induce but suggested it was safer to get baby out as soon as possible since the annoying bleeding was not getting any better and we still didn’t know what it was or where it was coming from. We decided we didn’t want to take any risks and so it was that, 15 minutes later and the husband as white as a sheet, I was wheeled into theatre.
And then there he was: my heart, my soul, my everything.